Martin Booth

Emperor’s New Clothes

Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan

By

Duckworth 800pp £25 order from our bookshop

When I was a boy growing up in China in the years after the Second World War, I knew a young Chinese man who had fought as a partisan against the Japanese occupying forces in Hong Kong. Not surprisingly, he was vehemently anti–Japanese. Furthermore, he was utterly convinced that the Japanese army had been personally led by Emperor Hirohito, who, he claimed, had specifically ordered the infamous Rape of Nanking. I admired this young man – he was one of my childhood heroes – and I still do, but history lessons at school later told me, with equal conviction, that Hirohito had been a pacifist pawn, manipulated by right–wing and militarist factions in pre–war Japan. However, it now seems that my friend’s hunch was right and my history teacher’s spectacularly wrong.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,